Hofmannsthal's plays are all written in verse, and most are modernized adaptations from other dramatists. His masterpiece, Electra (1903), was set to music by Richard Strauss. Dramas such as Jedermann (1911) and The Tower (1925, o.p.) showed him to be a serious and responsible social critic: their "deep symbolism is pervaded by an uncanny insight into the demonic forces and potentialities of our century" (LJ). With Max Reinhardt, Hofmannsthal helped to found the Salzburg Festival of music and theater, which is still an annual event. He also collaborated successfully with Strauss, despite their divergent personalities and mutually preferred habit of working at a distance, through the mails. Hofmannsthal wrote the libretti for Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf NaxosDer Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Die Frau ohne Schatten. In his poetry, almost all written in his early twenties, Hofmannsthal proved himself to be the most socially sensitive of the Viennese poets of the 1890s. A traditionalist writing in an era of experimentation, he wrote meditations on the theme of transience, noted for their elevated diction and technical perfection.
Born in Vienna, the prolific Zweig was a poet in his early years. In the 1920s, he achieved fame with the many biographies he wrote of famous people including Balzac, Dostoevsky, Dickens and Freud. Erasmus with whom he closely identified, was the subject of a longer biography. He also wrote the novellas Amok (1922) and The Royal Game (1944). As Nazism spread, Zweig, a Jew, fled to the United States and then to Brazil. He hoped to start a new life there, but the haunting memory of Nazism, still undefeated, proved too much for him. He died with his wife in a suicide pact.
Lee Child is the pen name of Jim Grant. He was born in Coventry, England in 1954. He attended law school at Sheffield University, worked in the theater, and finally worked as a presentation director for Granada Television. After being laid off in 1995 as a result of corporate restructuring, he decided to write a book. The Killing Floor won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel and became the first book in the Jack Reacher series. In 2012 the first motion picture feature of Jack Reacher was released staring Tom Cruise.